In last week’s New Yorker, Ben McGrath writes about his travels amongst the dystopians, aka declinists. You know the types — the various apocalyptos, misanthropes, primitivists, and eco-pornographers who fantasize of the day when our obsession with cars, suburbs, and Xboxes and hamburgers will finally whipsaw us back to the stone age.
It’s very much worth reading, if only to realize what an odious jackass James Howard Kunstler really is. But more surprising was the discovery that Nassim Taleb — he of Black Swan fame — is pretty much insane. Of course, he’s apparently being paid $4 million bucks for his next book, proving that you can never get too rich telling Americans how dumb capitalism is.
When the most sensible person in the piece is a 46 year old Russian software developer who lives in a sailboat with his wife and a six-month supply of propane, beans and rice, you know you’ve found the lunatic fringe. Terrific journalism.